The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“Canada strongly condemns the sham referendums planned in occupied regions of Ukraine. These phony exercises with predetermined results will have zero legitimacy, and Canada will not recognize them. Borders will not change. Ukraine’s territory will remain Ukraine’s.
“Russia’s war has never been about legitimate security interests-it has been about President Vladimir Putin’s desire to redraw the map using force. From the beginning, Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion aimed to seize and annex territories in an independent country, murdering and tormenting its citizens in the process. This is a blatant attack on the principles of rules-based international order and human rights, as well as a clear violation of international law. It also makes a mockery of the principles that Russia has pledged to uphold as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
“President Putin’s measures, announced in a blatantly misleading speech to the people of Russia, serve as a pretext to implicate even more Russians – forcing them to kill and to die in his desperate war of aggression and inflicting ever more death and destruction on their neighbours in Ukraine. More will now be made complicit in President Putin’s heinous violence, which has resulted in countless deaths and complete devastation in places like Izium, Bucha and Mariupol.
“The sham referendums in Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson are not about democracy but about a desperate attempt to legitimize conquest and limit a surging Ukrainian counteroffensive. The international community must act to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. We urge other countries to join in rejecting Russia’s illegal attempts to steal Ukrainian lands through violence and terror. Canada has always stood with Ukraine, and we will continue to do so for as long as it takes.”